Thursday, November 24, 2005

The return of mountaintop mining in West Virginia

On Wednesday, in Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition v. Bulen, the Fourth Circuit in an opinion by Judge Luttig, joined by Judge Niemeyer and District Judge Conrad, overruled the decision by Judge Goodwin of the S.D. W.Va. and concluded that the Army Corps of Engineers had not violated the Clean Water Act in its approval of mountaintop mining permits in West Virginia. The appeals panel, unlike the District Court, concluded that the issue did not involve the misapplication of an unambiguous issue, but instead was one to which the administrative agency, in this case the Corps of Engineers, was entitled to deference under the administrative law principles set forth in Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 (1984).

The AP's Larry O'Dell had this report about the case.

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